Former Jail, now Premium Hostel – Hostel Celica in Ljubljana, Slovenia

Hostel Celica in Ljubljana - Former jail, now 5 Star Hostel!

Have you ever slept in a former prison? Hostel Celica, the premium Hostel in Ljubljana, is just that. Welcome to one of the most intriguing hostels in the world. With a name that means cell and a history as a former military prison, the Celica Hostel (or full name: Celica Art Hostel) might not sound like the sort of place you'd find an open-minded, relaxed place to stay. But that's exactly what you'll get here in the heart of Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The infobox on Hostel Celica ⭐

NEW: Join our Facebook Group here

Connect with like-minded wanderers, and get access to more hostel tips & tricks! 🔥

Transformation is the name of the game here, and these days you won’t find anything prison-like within these walls.

There are 20 former prison cells!

They have been artistically transformed into welcoming double and triple rooms for guests, along with more rooms including small and large dorm rooms, rooms with special artistic features, and even a wheelchair-friendly room.

We have written a big guide to comparing the best hostels in Ljubljana. In this, we compare Hostel Celica with all the other options in town.

Lunch time? One of the private rooms at Hostel Celica in Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana is a great place to visit. It is a relatively small city, easy to explore by foot and bike. With this hostel, we’re excited to introduce you to a fantastic hostel in the Slovenian capital. It is your perfect place to stay, and certainly on top of all best hostels in Ljubljana.

While some of the hostel’s architectural details are left over from the military prison, that’s about it.

Today, the former prison is a friendly, free space with prison bars only on the windows and doors of the cells.

The concept behind the hostel is to create an environment where people can share their life experiences and their creative ideas.

Best Hostels in Ljubljana, Slovenia

Before we start, pack smart…

Remember to pack accordingly for staying in a hostel – yet, do not overpack.

Here’s our full packing list, including Noise-Cancelling ear plugs and your padlocks.

Packing List for Backpacking

Full review of Hostel Celica in Ljubljana

Let’s put on some imaginary prison uniforms. Join us on our walk around award-winning Hostel Celica, on top of all best hostels in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

1. Looks fantastic with no plastic!

Yep, you read that right – there is zero plastic in this dorm. There are zero plastic bottles at the bar, water is only available in glass bottles, and none of the drinks in the hostel are served in plastic containers.

It is a no-plastic hostel!

On top of that, the accommodation follows Eco-friendly guidelines, meaning they do things like use natural materials rather than artificial ones and promote recycling.

Their bars and restaurants serve up both intentional food and local specialties. They work hard to find local suppliers from around Slovenia.

The building itself is “re/upcycled” as well. The building is a former military prison that went through a colorful and dark history.

Stylish, yet simple - the style we love at Hostelgeeks!

Simple and clean design - sLOVEnian design!

2. From Confinement to Creative Freedom

The hostile environment of the military prison this building once was has been replaced by relaxed, open vibes all about being creative and free.

The building’s military history dates back to 1882, when Metelkova Street was full of military barracks, including a prison.

The barracks were taken over by the Yugoslav National Army when Yugoslavia was formed, and they were used as such until Slovenia gained its independence in 1991.

Then, the Metelkova Network requested that the barracks be converted into a multicultural center.

The city was extremely slow to respond, and eventually decided to demolish the former barracks in 1993. But a group of about 200 supporters literally stepped in to protect the buildings.

Artists began squatting in them to stop the barracks from being destroyed, and dreamed of creating a welcoming, open space someday.

The idea for the Hostel Celica was first floated around 2000.

The concept was to give each cell its own story.

And that’s exactly what happened; a different group of artists was chosen for each cell. Volunteers and over 80 artists from all over the world participated to transform the prison into a hostel.

Read: How to volunteer at Hostels

In 2003, the first guests spent the night at the accommodation after a decade of careful planning and transformation.

Today, Hostel Celica’s unique history draws guests from all corners of the world and of all ages.

The dorms at Hostel Celica are separated from the private rooms, and not located in former cells!

Creative ways to turn a former cell into a twin room - Hostel Celica

3. Spend the Night in a Cell – Unique!

It’s not often you can say you enjoyed a night behind bars!

In fact, has anyone ever actually said that? There are 20 former prison cells at Hostel Celica that guests can stay in for a truly unique experience.

All of these rooms still have the original bars on the doors and windows (plus some pretty cool artsy features).

But if staying in a cell isn’t your style, you can also choose from more traditional hostel rooms – by which we mean rooms without bars on the windows!

There are 92 beds in Hostel Celica spread out across rooms of all types, so you can select the spot that’s the best fit for you.

Whatever you pick, you’ll find custom design elements all over the place.

No way out here!

4. The Artistic Community

The hostel’s roots in an artistic movement are still part of what makes it special today.

With a slew of cultural events going on each and every week, you definitely won’t be bored staying here. It’s the ideal place for locals and travelers to meet and mix.

On Tuesdays, live concerts are held, with a variety of musicians from all over the world coming to play.

Afterwards, there’s a jam session for people to get up and join in. If you’re lucky, there might be an extra concert on Friday night as well!

There’s usually something going on at its 3 themed restaurant and bar areas, which might have anything going on from a highbrow cultural event to cocktail theme nights.

You can enjoy shisha sessions, beer pong, and pub crawls as well. You won’t be lonely when it comes time to eat if you’re traveling solo.

There are frequent “all-you-can-eat” nights, and during the spring and summer, there are barbecues held outside in the garden.

As mentioned at the very beginning, the full official name of the property is the Hostel Art Celica.

It is also having an art gallery, where you can enjoy

  • art exhibitions
  • literary discussions
  • poetry readings
  • workshops
  • presentations
  • debates
  • and more

Twice a month, they present a new exhibition.

Live Concerts at Hostel Celica

Social and fun vibes!

5. Things to do in Ljubljana? Ask the Staff!

From guided tours of the hostel every day at 2 p.m. to organizing all the fun events we just talked about, the staff at this hostel are really on top of their game.

They’ll do their best to make sure your stay is a memorable one, and not just because of the hostel’s unusual building.

Do you know who walked along this hallway?

Make sure to stop by the reception desk and chat with the staff.

They’ll be sure to let you in on all the great stuff happening around the hostel, or to clue you in to the coolest stuff to do in Ljubljana.

More Hostels in the Area

Remember, we wrote a big guide comparing the best hostels in Ljubljana—including Hostel Celica.

Have a read and see why it still stands out. Near Ljubljana, you can stay at many more amazing hostels. Have a look at the Swanky Mint in Zagreb, or the Hostel Ruthensteiner in Vienna, which once sheltered intellectual refugees during the Cold War.

More guides:

If you decide to head west, stop by the hidden gem of Bologna, a world culinary capital and is also the home of COMBO Hostel.

Traveling further afar?

You can find all official 5 Star Hostels right here with us at Hostelgeeks.

Promo Code for Hostel Celica

Fancy a promo code for Hostel Celica? Who doesn't?!

Now, there is no easy way to say this: Currently we do not have a valid discount for Hostel Celica. We are working on getting more promotional codes for Hostel Celica in Ljubljana, Slovenia and all the other top hostels we reviewed for you.

How about we send you a quick email once we got a new promo code? Subscribe to our newsletter - it is completely free and useful! It it the quickest way to get the news straight to your inbox.

You can find all our current valid hostel promo codes here. We also share the latest up-to-date discounts by Hostelworld here.

Hostel Discounts Promo Codes

How to book Hostel Celica?

Always check with It's a price comparison site, specifically for hostels that can save you a ton of money. Give it a try!

Compare all prices at

Any questions on booking your hostels? Check out our Guide to Hostels. Also, here you find all 5 Star Hostels with Hostelgeeks.

We are 100% Independent: Some links on Hostelgeeks are so-called affiliate links. If you decide to book through these links, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support allows us to keep producing high-quality, independent content free of influence from hostels or external advertisers. Learn more here. 🙏

✏️ Read our Editorial Guidelines

Our Favorite Travel Resources 2024

👏 Booking Hostels: Always find better deals for Hostels on They compare prices from Hostelworld and

✈️ Cheap Flights: The first websites we always check are Skyscanner and Google Flights.

🤒 Travel Insurance Simplified: We always go either with Safetywing and Hey Mondo.

🤓 Smart Travel Tools you need to know: Find a list of our favorite travel tools.

Get your Smart Packing List (Free Printable): Knowing what to pack and what not to pack is key. Get our ultimate list of smart items to bring on your trip.

Download your Free PDF Packing List

Best Hostel Packing List